A BENEFIT cheat continued to claim thousands of pounds to cover rent for a house he had already bought.

Anil Kala began legitimately claiming benefits in September, 2013, but the following year large amounts of cash began going through his bank account.

Craig Macgregor, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court that between March, 2014 and September, 2016 around £155,000 was paid into 42-year-old Kala's account. The maximum amount of capital allowed to be held by benefit claimants is £16,000.

When questioned by investigators Kala initially claimed the money had been given to him by his mother who had sold some jewellery and then stated that she had sold land in India in order for him to buy a house.

But the court heard that the money had been paid into Kala's account in numerous small amounts from locations in Southern England and Wales.

Kala, of Dalkeith Grove, Bolton, bought the home he had been renting for £125,000, but still kept on claiming £350 universe credit payments towards renting it.

Mr Macgregor said that, in total, Kala wrongly claimed a total of £18,137.22 he was not entitled to.

Kala pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances and making false representations to obtain benefits.

Nicholas Ross, defending, stressed Kala has health issues and long-standing problems with gambling and alcohol.

Sentencing Kala to six months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Richard Gioserano told him: "I am not sure I am prepared to accept this money was coming from your mother."

He added: "Over quite a period of time you ended up with over £18,000 of public money you should not have had."

Kala must also wear an electronic tag for four months and be subject to a 9pm to 7am curfew as well as participating in 25 days of rehabilitation activities.

A proceeds of crime hearing will be held in April next year in order to attempt to recover the money he wrongly took.